NEWS

Scuffles over Euro final seats

Portuguese police on Saturday had to break up hundreds of frustrated Greek fans who attacked Greek soccer federation officials after finding themselves high and dry in Lisbon without tickets for yesterday evening’s Euro 2004 final. Well over a thousand Greeks flew to Lisbon for the historic match after being told by the Hellenic Soccer Federation (EPO) that tickets would be available. But a 2,000-strong crowd gathered at the EPO stand in Lisbon for tickets early on Saturday, and the cheap seats were soon sold out. When told that the only tickets left cost 270 euros each, some 400 fans started protesting and bottles were hurled at EPO officials – who closed down the stand and called the police. At least one arrest was made. Dozens of charter flights were laid on to carry Greek supporters to Portugal after the national squad’s unexpected victory run. Last-minute arrivals included Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and opposition leader George Papandreou. Portuguese authorities set up video walls for ticketless Greek fans. EPO had secured 12,300 tickets for the final.